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Acupuncture Helps Manage Complex Pain

The  information below is adapted from Acupuncture in the Multimodal Biopsychosocial Pain Management. Towards a New Model in Clinical Practice by Agnès Mazic-de Sonis of Pain Clinic Chirec, Chirec, Site Parc Leopold, Brussels, Belgium. Health, 2015, 7, 884-895. Quotes from that source are italicized. Other sources are annotated below.

Even for modern medicine chronic pain remains a complex, multi-facetal problem. It involves nocioception (the ability of the body to sense potential harm), inflammation and abnormal physiology in the nervous system. There are also individual factors that can cause hyper-sensitivity to pain which complicates pain management. This suggests the need for restoration of the hypersensitive structures to their normal status in addition to treatment that is analgesic. Acupuncture provides the restorative factor. It does not treat a particular symptom but it normalizes the physiological homeostasis and promotes self-healing. 

Consequently, the integration of Western and traditional Oriental medicine is a working model for pain management. It applies the modern biomedical principles and retains the major principles of oriental medicine: restoration of the physiological homeostasis, maximizing the self-healing without side effects and treats both the cause and the symptoms of the disease.

download (2)Functional neuroimaging studies documented brain responses to acupuncture that are “associated with a pain matrix responsible for modulating the sensation of pain” (1).

Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial in a variety of painful conditions such as osteoarthritis of the knee (2, 3, 4), chronic mechanical neck pain (5), Bell palsy (6), and symptoms associated with fibromyalgia (7). It proved more effective than physical therapy and usual care in patients with chronic low back pain (8, 9, 10) and to be cost effective (11). Conclusions from a meta-analysis show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain (12).

Acupuncture treatments reduced symptoms of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain (13).

Acupuncture is being used in the palliative care of cancer to alleviate pain (14, 15), and fatigue (16, 17).

Louisville acupunctureIf you are in the Louisville area and interested in the use of acupuncture and/or Chinese herbalism to treat pain or any other condition, you can discuss treatment options with Jeffrey Russell at Abacus Chinese Medicine–Louisville Acupuncture and Chinese Herbalism. (502) 299-8900.

Works Cited

The above information is adapted from Acupuncture in the Multimodal Biopsychosocial Pain Management. Towards a New Model in Clinical Practice by Agnès Mazic-de Sonis of Pain Clinic Chirec, Chirec, Site Parc Leopold, Brussels, Belgium. Health, 2015, 7, 884-895. Quotes from that source are italicized. All other sources annotated below.
1.Harris, R.E., et al. (2009) Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and Placebo (Sham) Acupuncture Are Differentiated by Their Effects on Mu-Opioid Receptors (MORs). Neuroimage, 47, 1077-1085.
2. Berman, B.M., et al. (2004) Effectiveness of Acupuncture as Adjunctive Therapy in Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 141, 901-910.
3. Scharf, H.P., et al. (2006) Acupuncture and Knee Osteoarthritis: A Three-Armed Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 145, 12-20
4. Witt, C.M., et al. (2006) Acupuncture in Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee or Hip: A Randomized, Controlled Trial with an Additional Nonrandomized Arm. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 54, 3485-3493.
5.White, P., et al. (2004) Acupuncture versus Placebo for the Treatment of Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 141, 911-919.
6. Xu, S.B., et al. (2013) Effectiveness of Strengthened Stimulation during Acupuncture for the Treatment of Bell Palsy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 185, 473-479.
7. Martin, D.P., et al. (2006) Improvement in Fibromyalgia Symptoms with Acupuncture: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 81, 749-757.
8.Hsieh, L.L., et al. (2006) Treatment of Low Back Pain by Acupressure and Physical Therapy: Randomised Controlled Trial. British Medical Journal, 332, 696-700.
9. Thomas, K.J., et al. (2006) Randomised Controlled Trial of a Short Course of Traditional Acupuncture Compared with Usual Care for Persistent Non-Specific Low Back Pain. British Medical Journal, 333, 623.
10. Haake, M., et al. (2007) German Acupuncture Trials (GERAC) for Chronic Low Back Pain: Randomized, Multicenter, Blinded, Parallel-Group Trial with 3 Groups. Archives of Internal Medicine, 167, 1892-1898. A. Mazic-de Sonis 895
11. Ratcliffe, J., et al. (2006) A Randomised Controlled Trial of Acupuncture Care for Persistent Low Back Pain: Cost Effectiveness Analysis. British Medical Journal, 333, 626.
12. Vickers, A.J., et al. (2012) Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172, 1444-1453.
13. Lee, S.W., et al. (2008) Acupuncture versus Sham Acupuncture for Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain. American Journal of Medicine, 121, 79.e1-e7.
14. Alimi, D., et al. (2003) Analgesic Effect of Auricular Acupuncture for Cancer Pain: A Randomized, Blinded, Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 21, 4120-4126.
15. Pfister, D.G., et al. (2010) Acupuncture for Pain and Dysfunction after Neck Dissection: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 28, 2565-2570.
16. Vickers, A.J., et al. (2004) Acupuncture for Postchemotherapy Fatigue: A Phase II Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 22,1731-1735.
17. Molassiotis, A., et al. (2012) Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients with Breast Cancer: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 30, 4470-4476.